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Embroidering Heirloom Applique

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Applique embroidery uses pieces of fabric to cover areas in designs. Heirloom applique designs use a blanket stitch, or E-stitch, to finish the edges, resulting in a classic and cozy look for garments and home decor.

Project Needs & Notes

- Fabric that doesn't easily fray
  (felt or Ultrasuede)
- Double-sided fusible web
- Medium-weight (2.5 ounce) cutaway stabilizer
- Temporary spray adhesive (like Gunold KK100)
- Iron and pressing cloth

For this tutorial, I used the Snowflake (Heirloom Applique) design. Find even more single-piece heirloom applique designs here.

This project was featured in the following:
12 Top-Trending Embroidery Styles Lookbook

Designs Used

All applique designs from Embroidery Library have dielines.

Download the applique design and unzip it. Extract the files, and look for the file marked with the letters "DL." That is the dieline.

Dielines are used to cut applique fabric to the right shape and size.

When you download an heirloom applique design, you will find multiple files. Some are the embroidery files, and the others are dieline files marked with the letters "DL". Dielines are used to cut the fabric to the correct shape and size. Open and print each dieline file using an embroidery software. If you do not have an embroidery software, take a look at our helpful video on using dielines.

For heirloom applique pieces, choose fabric that won't fray. Felt and Ultrasuede are nice options.

When working with heirloom applique designs, use fusible web. That binds the applique fabric to the base fabric.

Peel back one side of the fusible web, and smooth the applique fabric on top.

Place the dieline on top of the fabric and fusible web and cut out the shape.

Some applique designs have multiple applique pieces. If so, repeat these steps to cut out all the applique pieces for the chosen design.

Cutaway stabilizer is a good choice for a kitchen towel.

Hoop the towel with one piece of  cutaway stabilizer.

Send the full embroidery design (not the dieline) to your machine.

The color change sheet shows the stitching order. The first thing to stitch is an outline, which traces the snowflake shape.

Take the snowflake fabric and peel back the sheet of fusible web. Place it right in the stitched lines.

Continue embroidering the design. An outer blanket stitch will sew, tacking the applique fabric onto the towel.

If the design has multiple applique pieces, follow the color change sheet closely.

Embroider each dieline, and adhere the fabric piece in place before sewing the corresponding tackdowns. Then continue to embroider any remaining inner details.

After embroidering, trim the stabilizer away from the back. Leave about 1/2" around the design.

Most fusible web instructions advise to press, which permanently adheres the web to the fabric.

Applique designs let you use your favorite fabric colors, patterns, and prints in a design. Try heirloom applique to add a traditional, hand-sewn look to your embroidery.

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